The State of the Industry

[This post is from CEDAM Executive Director Angie Gaabo.]

Everyone knows that times are tough for Michigan nonprofits, but what does that look like on the ground?  Here at CEDAM, we are dedicated to helping our members rebuild neighborhoods and revitalize communities.  To accomplish this, we need to know what they’re facing.

This spring, CEDAM conducted an Internet-based survey to collect data in three areas:

  • the health of the industry (how are members coping?),
  • the direction of the industry (what are members doing?), and
  • our own performance (how can we support our members?).
Verne Barry Place - project of CEDAM member Dwelling Place in Grand Rapids

Verne Barry Place - award-winning project of CEDAM member Dwelling Place in Grand Rapids

The findings were surprisingly positive.  While CEDAM members who responded are struggling with funding shortages, only a few have dissolved and many are forming new collaborations. They are adapting to new needs and funding sources, and they want more resources and guidance from CEDAM on how to do this.

Read the full report (it’s short), then let us know in the comments how this compares to your experience. How is your organization doing? What do you need to better serve your community?

Best Practice: Selling Homes in a Weak Market

[This post is part of our Best Practices series.  The series will highlight great ideas that you can apply to your own work.  If you want to share a best practice, contact Tiffany (select Membership on our Contact Form, or 517.485.3588).]

On October 1, 2009, CEDAM staff attended an event called Creative Cents in Lansing. One of our CDC members, the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition (GLHC), created this program as an innovative way to spur interest in four homes that they had rehabilitated but were having difficulty selling in this weak housing market.  The idea came from an interested volunteer who was involved in a similar program in Lafayette, Indiana.

The Creative Cents concept is similar to HGTV’s Design on a Dime television showThis is how you can implement it in your community:GLHC Creative Cents room at 809 Barber

  1. Invite local colleges or interior designers to volunteer to design one room in each home for sale.
  2. The budget is $300 (or whatever your organization decides), so designers will need to seek discounts or donations to help the dollars stretch.
  3. After the rooms are complete, send a press release and invite media and community members (i.e. potential homeowners) to view the rooms and vote for their favorite.

This is an inexpensive, creative tactic to move houses in a weak market. You can read more press and see photos of the finished rooms at GLHC’s Facebook page (no log-in required).

For more information about this program idea, please come to the session titled “Moving Homes in a Weak Market: An Innovative Best Practice” at the Michigan Conference on Affordable Housing (April 26-28, 2010). GLHC will be presenting this model in great detail during this session.

PS As a result of Creative Cents, GLHC sold a house that had been on the market for 3 years!!

Financial Education Resources

In honor of Michigan Credit Union Week (October 15-22, 2009), here are some financial education resources for teachers and learners.

A great tool for asset-building organizations looking to engage in financial literacy programs is the Financial Literacy Update, a bimonthly e-newsletter providing information about upcoming financial literacy events produced by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Some important upcoming Financial Literacy events include:

  • 2009 Annual Conference on Financial Education, October 21-23 (Philadelphia, PA).  This event is hosted by the Institute for Financial Literacy and provides professional development opportunities for people working in the fields of financial literacy and education.
  • Train the Trainer Financial Education Workshop, November 4 (Lubbock, TX).  Experience hands-on training on three financial education curricula provided by the Texas Department of Banking: the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ “Building Wealth,” the FDIC’s “Money Smart Program,” and JA Worldwide’s “Junior Achievement.”
  • Financial Literacy Conference, November 6-8 (Washington, D.C.).  The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy presents its first nation-wide conference devoted entirely to personal finance in grades K-12.

Also check out these two financial literacy resources for consumers:

  • HelpWithMyBank.gov – OCC Website providing answers to more than 300 commonly asked banking questions.
  • MyMoney.gov – U.S. government’s Website providing information for Americans on the basics of financial education.

Have more great resource? Post them in the comments!

Contest: Website Scavenger Hunt for Members

Welcome to the brand new CEDAM blog!  We are excited to reveal the blog, along with the new and improved CEDAM website.

After months of development, we are confident that the site will be a useful resource for you.  Some of the new features include:

  • a more intuitive structure and a more streamlined design
  • this blog
  • a search engine to help you find specific content
  • an interactive calendar to help you find and share events
  • forms to join CEDAM or renew your membership online
  • social media integration: CEDAM now has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, and more
  • new sections include CEDAM’s history, FAQ, and “Meet the Members”
  • a redesigned policy section, with great advocacy links and frequent updates on pertinent legislation
  • personalize-able RSS feeds of recent news, Career Corner, and blog

To celebrate the launch and encourage you to visit the site, we are sponsoring a scavenger hunt for CEDAM members.  If you are a member, e-mail us with answers to these 7 questions by Friday, October 16 to be entered into a prize drawing!

1. What meeting is CEDAM hosting on December 9, 2009?
2. What is board member Brad Garmon’s other job (besides MEC)?
3. What is the front-page story of the Winter 2008 Community Connections newsletter?
4. What are the three committees of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force?
5. What job is Community Action-Branch County advertising through CEDAM?
6. What is the status of SB 641 as of September 25?
7. Who inspires CEDAM member Don Jones?

Aloha from CEDAM!

Tiffany_LMHello, I’m Tiffany Lemieux-McKissic and I am the Manager of Membership and Communications here at CEDAM.

Our new website is awesome and I can’t wait to begin blogging about our members and the incredible work that you are engaged in. Look for ‘Member Spotlight’ features from me that highlight different member organizations across the state. I will also be blogging about state-wide Best Practice models in the CED industry.

If you are curious about me, I am 28 years old and a proud wife and mother of two (4 year old daughter Aurora and 4 month old son Xavier). In my spare time (ha-ha!), I love to read and to travel. My retirement dream is to own a small bed and breakfast in the Caribbean and lay on the beach all day- it’s going to happen so make your reservations now!

Please feel free to contact me if you ever have any suggestions or a great story to share.

A Note from Jessica

Jessica AcMoodyHi, I’m Jessica AcMoody, the new Office Manager at CEDAM.  I started here on October 5th and am excited to join the team.  I came to CEDAM from HomeAid Michigan where I was the Executive Assistant.  In the future I will be blogging about industry news and upcoming events.  I live in Lansing and in my free time enjoy traveling, going to see live music and watching baseball.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or ideas you may have.

MI Delegation Letter to Sec. Donovan re HCAP Funding

[For Task Force members, from Lisa Nuszkowski]

As you know, Task Force members and staff have been meeting with the Michigan Congressional Delegation to educate our elected officials about the foreclosure crisis in our state and advocate for additional support for foreclosure prevention and housing counseling.  Thus far, we have met with the offices of Senator Carl Levin, Congressman John Dingell, Congressman Dave Camp, Congressman Vern Ehlers, and Congressman Mark Schauer.  All were very receptive to our message, and share our concerns about Michigan getting its fair share of funding to fight the foreclosure crisis and stabilize our communities.

With the help of Congressman Dingell’s staff, the entire Michigan Delegation has signed on to a letter addressed to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan that outlines the dire need here in Michigan and asks a series of questions about the Housing Counseling Assistance Program (HCAP) funds and how they are allocated.  We expect to receive a response by the middle of October and will share this with the Task Force.  While these efforts may not affect HCAP funding awards for 2009, we hope that these efforts will result in a more thorough, thoughtful review of the HCAP program, and how it can be better tailored to meet the very real needs of communities across Michigan.

See the letter here.  If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Nuszkowski.

Save the Date: 90-Day Pre-Foreclosure Negotiation Law Webinar

On Friday, November 6, 2009, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Lorray Brown will host a webinar on the 90-day pre-foreclosure negotiation law.  For those of you who have not been able to attend one of Lorray’s presentations/trainings in person, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the implementation of this new law, as well as ask questions that you may have come across in dealing with clients who have received a 90-day notice from their lender or servicer.


90-Day Pre-Foreclosure Negotiation Webinar

Friday, November 6, 2009

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

New: Register here

For those of you unable to take part in the webinar, we will be recording and posting it online afterward.  More details will follow on this as well.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

Lisa Nuszkowski
Michigan Foreclosure Task Force

Join us in Lansing for Capital Day

Do you wish you were more comfortable talking to your elected officials?  Want to know how to advocate more effectively?

Here is your chance!Capitol Dome

On Tuesday, November 10, you are invited to join us in Lansing for hands-on advocacy training, group meetings with your legislators, networking with others, and a guided tour of the Capitol building.  There will be a webinar the week before to help you get comfortable discussing the community-development and asset-building policy issues of the day.

The event is free for CEDAM, ABC, and Foreclosure Task Force members, who will receive invitations by e-mail and regular mail.  Please RSVP by October 16; for your convenience, you can RSVP using this form.  We hope you can come!

About Asset Building

ABPP logoThe Asset Building Policy Project (ABPP) at CEDAM coordinates a statewide Michigan Asset Building Coalition and works to move progressive asset-building policy forward at the state level.  The ABPP prioritizes public policy that increases access to higher education, career-advancement and job-training opportunities, and personal economic and finance skills for the residents of Michigan.  Our goal is to empower low-wage workers and their families to escape poverty through building and developing their personal assets.

Asset-building policy includes any government policy or program that aids, encourages, or rewards people for developing personal assets.  Assets are important, especially for low-income workers, because they provide a financial base from which people can draw resources in times of economic crisis, like an extended period of unemployment.  By assets, we mean anything of value or anything that can help a person to develop wealth.  Savings accounts and homes are obvious assets, but education and social networks are also assets because they can help people to acquire financial resources.

Subsequent ABPP blog posts will keep you updated on current ABPP projects and let you know what is happening with asset-building policy in the state and across the nation.

For more information on asset-building, see the ABPP page on the CEDAM website.  Also, check out these websites:

From Ross Yednock and Megan Kursik, Asset Building Policy Project staff